A play aimed at raising awareness of suicide among young people will be staged in Derry and Tyrone next month.
‘I Belong Here’ has been written by Patrick Kearney and will be performed by Jason Matthewson in schools and youth centres across the North West in the coming months.
The play also enjoyed a successful tour of Derry and Tyrone last year.
The drama revolves around a young man whose friend has taken his own life and the choices he makes as a consequence.
Mr Kearney said the play has an important message for young men in particular. “Many boys today are in serious trouble. They are confused by society’s mixed messages about what’s expected of them. This leaves them experiencing a sadness and disconnection.
“Research shows that boys are performing less well in schools compared to girls, and that their self-esteem is fragile and rates of depression and suicide in boys are on the rise.
“In the education system, boys are now twice as likely as girls to be labelled learning disabled and are up to 10 times more likely to be diagnosed with a serious emotional disorder - most especially attention deficit disorder, for which many boys receive potent medications with potentially serious side affects.”
He also said rates of depression among young men are rising. “Boys are more likely to endure disciplinary problems, be suspended from classes, or actually drop out from school entirely. Boys are experiencing serious trouble outside school as well.
“The rate of depression among today’s boys is shockingly high. In order to help these boys, we need to get behind their mask of masculinity that most boys and men wear to hide their true inner feelings, to present to the world an image of male toughness, stoicism, and strength, when in fact they feel desperately alone and afraid.’
For further information about ‘I Belong Here’, please contact Artists in Creative Enterprise: 074 9158836/086 1599068/ firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.artistsincreativeenterprise.com